The Impact of Sertraline Co-Administration on the Pharmacokinetics of Olanzapine: A Population Pharmacokinetic Analysis of the STOP-PD

Simon J.C. Davies, Benoit H. Mulsant, Alastair J. Flint, Barnett S. Meyers, Anthony J. Rothschild, Ellen M. Whyte, Margaret M. Kirshner, Denise Sorisio, Bruce G. Pollock, Robert R. Bies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Clinical evidence and expert opinion support using a combination of an antipsychotic and an antidepressant when treating major depression with psychotic features. We characterized the impact of sertraline co-administration on olanzapine clearance in psychotic depression using population pharmacokinetic methods. Methods: The Study of Pharmacotherapy for Psychotic Depression (STOP-PD) randomized 259 participants to olanzapine plus placebo or olanzapine plus sertraline. Olanzapine was started at 2.5–5 mg/day and sertraline at 25–50 mg/day. Doses were increased to a maximum of 20 mg/day for olanzapine and 200 mg/day for sertraline. Up to four olanzapine concentration samples were collected during the 12-week trial and 12-week continuation phase. We used NONMEM (Version VII) for population pharmacokinetic analysis, assessing effects of the covariates sex, African American origin, smoking, age, and sertraline co-administration. Results: Population pharmacokinetic analysis comprised 336 samples from 175 individuals. The structural model published by Bigos et al. was sufficient to describe the olanzapine data adequately: a one-compartment model with first-order absorption and elimination, using an additive residual error structure with the absorption rate constant fixed to 0.5. Sertraline co-administration significantly increased olanzapine apparent clearance (p < 0.005) by 25–35 % depending on the patient characteristics included. Male sex was associated with a significantly increased clearance. Age and race did not have a significant impact on clearance. Conclusions: Contrary to expectations from the knowledge of cytochrome P450 interactions, sertraline increased olanzapine apparent clearance. Plausible explanations include patients treated with sertraline having poorer adherence to olanzapine, or the impact of sertraline inhibition of transporters resulting in increased intracellular concentrations and thus access to metabolizing enzymes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1161-1168
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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